October 3, 2011
Dear Family and Friends,
This will be a short note just to let everyone know that we are safe after feeling the effects of two typhoons within a one week period. We are officially tired of rain and are anxious for the rainy season to end. We were very fortunate to have the typhoons pass by us on the north so we received just some wind and lots of rain. No serious damage. We were unable to do any outside work Tuesday due to the typhoon. We had 2 small trees that blew over in the yard and some windows needing repair but that was the extent of the damage. The Elder’s apartment and the Sister’s apartment both received some water damage to the floors. The windows in the Elder’s apartment are rusted over and can’t be closed so they got the most water damage. The rain got under the floor tiles and began ‘lifting up’ the tiles. One of the Elders walked on the tile and broke 3 or 4 tiles. We are all fine – just getting tired of the rain.
This has been a very busy week for us. Sunday I taught the Priesthood lesson and the Temple Preparation Class and then Mom and I taught a Young Single Adult Fireside about dating and manners. This was fun because we had to find out about dating practices and customs in the Philippines. We spoke with a few of the branch members and some of the missionaries to learn more about the customs. We learned that the man could do things to earn ‘pogi points’ (pogi is a conversational Tagalog word that means handsome but in this case it would mean to earn gold stars, or brownie points). So we talked about manners and how they could earn pogi points with the girl and her family. We had some good fun and laughs with the single adults. The District President is concerned that the single adults are not dating or looking for a companion but they seem to just ‘hang out’. Sounds just like back home in the States. We hope that we did some good.
Monday we were off to the Mission Office in Manila to continue training. Each trip to Manila we would move some of our things to the office. We have found that this kind of living is difficult especially when we needed something and realize that it has been packed and in a box somewhere in the office now. We traveled back to our apartment in Naic each night since we felt that it would be most appropriate to be in the apartment compound with the Sisters and Elders. By the end of the week we had completely moved out and we brought our new senior couple out to Naic on Saturday. We are living in the Mission Home until next week when the Swenson’s fly home.
On Tuesday and part of Wednesday we experienced the typhoon. The Elders and Sisters asked if they could come over to our apartment to get ‘dry’. It was nice to have them but it did make things somewhat difficult to do - the final packing and cleaning of our apartment in Naic, study, etc. We fixed them breakfast and lunch, talked, studied and just got tired of being ‘cooped up’ in the apartment all day long. It was a good experience for all of us.
On Thursday we received 7 new missionaries from the Manila MTC. They came out of the MTC 3 weeks early on an ‘off cycle’ transfer. We don’t understand why this happened except we needed to be trained in how to do all of the things that were required for processing new missionaries – this was one of those tender mercies shown to us so we could experience these things before the current office couple left.
In the middle of the ‘off cycle’ transfer a new senior couple came in on Thursday.
Elder and Sister Forinash are from California but after they retired they moved to Logan, Utah. Elder Forinash is a retired sheriff from Los Angles. They will do a great job here. Mom and I were assigned to orient them and teach them the ‘survival techniques’ they need for the Philippines. They will replace us in Naic so we gave them a few driving pointers on Friday afternoon/evening after they had received their Philippine driver’s license and then they drove and followed us out to the apartment in Naic right in the middle of the second typhoon on Saturday. We couldn’t think of a more appropriate way to introduce them to their mission in the Philippines.
We showed them some of the places in Naic, the church, the bank, the utility company, the post office etc and then took them to the grocery store. Later that night we drove back to the mission home in Manila.
Early Sunday morning we drove back out to Naic to attend Church with Elder and Sister Forinash and introduce them to the members and the area. I taught our Temple Preparation class and then asked our new senior couple to finish with the last 2 lessons. It was more difficult than I thought to say goodbye to the Maragondon Branch. As I look back on our short stay here, I think that getting stuck in the rice field helped us to draw closer to the members than anything else we could have done. It is strangely funny how the Lord works that way sometimes. It feels good to know that we were able to complete the paperwork to request a new church building and teach temple prep. The members were so appreciative. The members that we were able to visit cried when we told them goodbye. It was difficult to leave but the Lord needs us in another capacity now. President Stucki has asked us go back to our first area to attend church on Sundays until we leave. It will be nice to go back to those dear friends and members.
We have 2 more days to train with the Swenson’s before they leave. There is so much to learn and so little time. We pray every night that we will not make any huge error that would hinder the progress of the mission. It is really a heavy responsibility but we are excited about the opportunity to learn. It will also be enjoyable to work with the office elders and assistants. Late Saturday evening I asked if we could start each day with a morning devotional and planning session. They were excited about that idea and I think that it will bring a greater unity and attitude into the office.
We hope that you are all doing well. We love you all. Thank you again for your prayers and love. We know and we feel that those prayers are keeping us safe through all of these experiences. The gospel is certainly true. It is good to be a member of this church. We are looking forward to watching conference this next weekend. We know that Heavenly Father is watching over you. Please take care and remember to BE good, DO good and Be men and women of Christ. An always remember to say your prayers.
Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, Grant and Janene